Google’s Latest App Lets You Scan Physical Photos into Your Phone

Via a blog post, Google today has introduced a new app called PhotoScan that allows users to scan physical photos from within frames or by themselves into their smartphones where they’re then backed up into Google Photos. This is the make preserving old photos you may have in a book or old chest in your mom’s attic you quote-unquote “can’t get around to getting” every time the holidays come around.

We all have those old albums and boxes of photos, but we don’t take the time to digitize them because it’s just too hard to get it right. We don’t want to mail away our original copy, buying a scanner is costly and time consuming, and if you try to take a photo of a photo, you end up with crooked edges and glare.

We knew there had to be a better way, so we’re introducing PhotoScan, a brand new, standalone app from Google Photos that easily scans just about any photo, free, from anywhere.

By snapping a picture of the photo you’d like to scan on your phone and hovering over some dots that appear in the image, you can then save your photo to your device as if the picture was originally digital. I’ll have to say, this works really well. I’ve been trying it out all day and am pleasantly surprised with the results.

Google says that when aligning the physical photo for scanning into your device via the view finder in the app, you don’t have to worry about any glair possibly obstructing your view of the photo. Google says their technology inside PhotoScan can see right through it, so don’t fret if you’re in a bright room with lots of sunshine and want to scan a picture within a frame.

Google makes sure to note that this app is a companion to the popular service Google Photos as the two apps hold hands in creating a seamless experience that’s nice and simple for practically anyone to figure out. Therefore, when downloading this app (available for both Android and iOS), I recommend also getting Google Photos in case you don’t already have it (also available for Android and iOS). This way, your photos scanned and taken natively with your device’s camera remain backed up permanently for free.

In addition to PhotoScan, Google’s also introducing new editing features within the Photos app. These new tools are aimed at getting you the picture you want with the right amount of light, saturation, sharpness, and exposure. The company explains more below.

Today we’re rolling out three easy ways to get great looking photos in Google Photos: a new and improved auto enhance, unique new looks, and advanced editing tools. Open a photo and then tap the pencil icon to start editing. First, for auto enhance, just select Auto, and see instant enhancements a pro editor might make – like balancing exposure and saturation to bring out the details.

Second, our 12 new looks take style to the next level. These unique looks make edits based on the individual photo and its brightness, darkness, warmth, or saturation, before applying the style. All looks use machine intelligence to complement the content of your photo, and choosing one is just a matter of taste.

Third, our advanced editing controls for Light and Color allow you to fine tune your photos, including highlights, shadows, and warmth. Deep Blue is particularly good for images of sea and sky where the color blue is the focal point.

These new features are rolling out now to both mobile and web users.